Maybe it’s because I’ve been awake since three AM. And maybe it’s because that happens a lot these days, but it just occurred to me this afternoon that all forms of social media feel like a part-time job that pays nothing. Some people might call that volunteer work but aren’t you supposed to feel all good inside when you volunteer? Or at least be retired and living large off of young taxpayers?
Twitter puts no food on my table. Google+ doesn’t put a roof over my head. And Pinterest only makes me want to buy stuff I can’t afford. I’ve dabbled in other mediums but my commitment to them is so weak and my followers so few, no one would notice if I fell off the social media cliff. I almost forgot about my blogs, this one and the more design/marketing related one over at the Polisher. That’s not a plug for my other blog, I’ve just been preprogrammed to link to everything. Not that anyone clicks on them but I do like the way it shows up in a different colour and breaks up the paragraph.
If you’ve ever written a blog or are currently working on one, you know how much work goes into every post, every carefully crafted headline, all the SEO madness and the messing with images (because some popular blogger told you your blog must have pretty pictures). Personally, I don’t bother at all with SEO, and if you don’t know what that means, god bless your little heart. You don’t want to know.
Because I have to be punched in the head numerous times until I nearly black out in order to learn my lesson, I have hit rock-bottom again and it ain’t pretty. There isn’t some inspiring Rocky music playing in the background either. Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by the soothing sounds of fire alarm testing and a whining toddler punctuated by random ringing in my ears.
Have you ever felt like you’ve been working harder than a starved horse schlepping tourists in Mexico and yet week after week you produce nothing? I mean, you might produce something but it ends up having no value and doesn’t get you any closer your dream(s) – that kind of nothing. Unless you consider value to be a short and sweet word for Just Filling Your Days Until You Die. Personally, I don’t, but maybe my standards are too high.
Which is how we return to the topic of social media and it’s role in my psychological demise. No, I’m not envious of my Facebook friends and haven’t been diagnosed with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). But I have been suckered into the idea that I need to have an extensive social media presence in order to succeed as a writer and a chronically self-employed person, also optimistically referred to as an entrepreneur. I suppose in a way it’s a form of FOMO – I fear that if I don’t amass throngs of devoted followers, via whatever platform is popular that month, that I will have thrown away the only cheap opportunity available to market my wares and become a multi-millionaire by January.
Who am I kidding? I’ll be lucky if I make a million dollars by the age of 85.
There might be a secret hiding in the words “cheap opportunity”. The twist is that social media is not actually cheap, we pay for it with our time. If you are an adult and especially if you run a business (and/or have kids) you clearly appreciate that time is a resource of phenomenal value because it is non-renewable. It can only be spent, never saved. If you spend even one hour per day checking in with your digital friends and followers you can’t ever get that hour back. If, like me, you use that precious hour or two striving to be witty, helpful, amusing and fabulous in order to build up a legion of fans that will buy all your short, crappy books full of spelling mistakes* then maybe you’re wasting your time.
Maybe I’m wasting my time. I don’t know. This is why I’m taking a one week holiday from social media – to see what happens. This is an experiment with no known outcome. I intend to post the occasional update here if I’m struck by the urge to reflect on the journey but I’m not committing to anything.
Yes, I’m aware that this blog is a form of social media, but since so few people read it it’s hardly all that social and really more just media. My updates will be brief and I won’t even guarantee I’ll even make any but I will try to provide a summary of discoveries at the end of the week-long holiday.
If you’re wondering why I called it a holiday instead of a vacation, it’s because I was inspired by this intriguing post from a guy I met on Twitter. Oh I know, you can smell the stench of irony, somebody get me some Febreeze.
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* By the way, when I refer to short, crappy books I’m actually talking about mine, not yours. Your book might be really amazing or your website or your mad programming skills or whatever. Sometimes I’m actually talking to myself. I believe that’s a sign of madness, no?